The Edmonton Oilers have fired head coach Jay Woodcroft after the team’s 3-9-1 start to the season.
A 4-1 victory over the Kraken in Seattle on Saturday night was not enough to buy the 47-year-old more time.
Woodcroft departs with a 79-41-13 record as Oilers head coach, the fifth most wins in the NHL since he signed a three-year contract four months after Edmonton fired Dave Tippett.
The #Oilers announced today that head coach Jay Woodcroft & assistant coach Dave Manson have been relieved of their coaching duties.⁰
Hartford Wolf Pack head coach Kris Knoblauch will assume head coaching duties with the Oilers & will be joined by assistant coach Paul Coffey.
The Oilers announced that Kris Knoblauch, of the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack, will assume head coaching duties with Edmonton and will be joined by assistant coach Paul Coffey.
In 2022, Woodcroft guided the club to the conference final before falling to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche.
Adam Zainul, an Oilers superfan, told CBC Edmonton that Woodcroft’s dismissal comes as a surprise considering the victory over the Seattle Kraken on Saturday night.
“If they lost [Saturday] I could kind of understand it,” Zainul said. “You do something good and you get punished. So it’s a confusing [decision].”
The Oilers have called a news conference for Sunday afternoon. Knoblauch and Coffey were in attendance with general manager Ken Holland and Jeff Jackson, the team’s CEO of hockey operations.
The Edmonton Oilers announced on Sunday that Kris Knoblauch, left, and Paul Coffey, right, have been named new head coach and assistant coach of the team. (Emily Williams/CBC)
At the news conference, Holland told reporters that he and Jackson started to have daily conversations about possible solutions as the team’s record got worse.
The team’s loss on Thursday against the San Jose sharks, who sit in last place in the league, was when they decided to make a coaching change, said Holland.
“We’re in a business where you’ve got to win games,” he said.
Knoblauch, the Oilers’ official new head coach, said the change in leadership is a fresh start for the season.
“It’s a reset. Hopefully our players see this and it takes the pressure off them,” Knoblauch said.